Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Jeremiah 32:9

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Weighed him the money - It does not appear that there was any coined or stamped money among the Jews before the captivity; the Scripture, therefore, never speaks of counting money, but of weighing it.

Seventeen shekels of silver - The shekel at this time must have been a nominal coin; it was a thing of a certain weight, or a certain worth. Seventeen shekels was the weight of the silver paid: but it might have been in one ingot, or piece. The shekel has been valued at from two shillings and threepence to two shillings and sixpence, and even at three shillings; taking the purchase-money at a medium of the value of the shekel, it would amount only to about two pounds two shillings and sixpence. But as estates bore value only in proportion to the number of years before the jubilee, and the field in question was then in the hands of the Chaldeans, and this cousin of Jeremiah was not likely to come back to enjoy it after seventy years, (nor could he then have it, as a jubilee would intervene and restore it to the original family), and money must now be very scarce and high in its value, the seventeen shekels might have been a sufficient sum for a field in those circumstances, and one probably not large in its dimensions.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Seventeen shekels of silver - literally, as in the margin, probably a legal formula. Jeremiah bought Hanameel‘s life-interest up to the year of Jubilee, and no man‘s life was worth much in a siege like that of Jerusalem. As Jeremiah had no children, at his death the land would devolve to the person who would have inherited it had Jeremiah not bought it. He therefore bought what never was and never could have been of the slightest use to him, and gave for it what in the growing urgency of the siege might have been very serviceable to himself. Still, as the next heir. it was Jeremiah‘s duty to buy the estate, independently of the importance of the act as a sign to the people; and evidently he gave the full value.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Jeremiah, being in prison for his prophecy, purchased a piece of ground. This was to signify, that though Jerusalem was besieged, and the whole country likely to be laid waste, yet the time would come, when houses, and fields, and vineyards, should be again possessed. It concerns ministers to make it appear that they believe what they preach to others. And it is good to manage even our worldly affairs in faith; to do common business with reference to the providence and promise of God.
Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 466-9

In the closing years of Judah's apostasy the exhortations of the prophets were seemingly of but little avail; and as the armies of the Chaldeans came for the third and last time to besiege Jerusalem, hope fled from every heart. Jeremiah predicted utter ruin; and it was because of his insistence on surrender that he had finally been thrown into prison. But God left not to hopeless despair the faithful remnant who were still in the city. Even while Jeremiah was kept under close surveillance by those who scorned his messages, there came to him fresh revelations concerning Heaven's willingness to forgive and to save, which have been an unfailing source of comfort to the church of God from that day to this. PK 466.1

Laying fast hold on the promises of God, Jeremiah, by means of an acted parable, illustrated before the inhabitants of the fated city his strong faith in the ultimate fulfillment of God's purpose for His people. In the presence of witnesses, and with careful observance of all necessary legal forms, he purchased for seventeen shekels of silver an ancestral field situated in the neighboring village of Anathoth. PK 466.2

From every human point of view this purchase of land in territory already under the control of the Babylonians, appeared to be an act of folly. The prophet himself had been foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem, the desolation of Judea, and the utter ruin of the kingdom. He had been prophesying a long period of captivity in faraway Babylon. Already advanced in years, he could never hope to receive personal benefit from the purchase he had made. However, his study of the prophecies that were recorded in the Scriptures had created within his heart a firm conviction that the Lord purposed to restore to the children of the captivity their ancient possession of the Land of Promise. With the eye of faith Jeremiah saw the exiles returning at the end of the years of affliction and reoccupying the land of their fathers. Through the purchase of the Anathoth estate he would do what he could to inspire others with the hope that brought so much comfort to his own heart. PK 469.1

Read in context »